ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) — The FBI is looking into Saturday’s attack at a St. Cloud mall as a potential act of terrorism.
A man carrying a knife stabbed nine people at Crossroads Center Saturday night. The attack lasted five minutes and ended when an off-duty police officer shot and killed the man.
Investigators are calling Avon police officer Jason Falconer a hero for what he did. Falconer was off-duty last night and shopping at the mall.
Police say when the attacker lunged at Falconer with a knife, he fired his gun until the man did not get back up.
A source tells WCCO the suspect is 22-year-old Dahir Adan, and that he attended St. Cloud State University. Police say they executed two search warrants at two apartments in St. Cloud after the attack. They also found Adan’s car, which was cleared and impounded.
But they did not find a manifesto or anything in writing indicating the suspect’s motive.
On Sunday, an Islamic State-run news agency claimed the attacker was a quote “soldier of the Islamic State.” It’s not clear if the group had planned an attack or even knew about it beforehand.
Saturday night, just after 8 p.m., police surrounded Crossroads Center answering a call for help. Inside was a chaotic scene after a man with a knife arrived ready to cause harm.
“Individual entered south east side of the Crossroads Mall on Division Street and attacked nine people,” St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson said.
The stabbing victims range in age from 15 to 50, a seemingly random attack were it not for a reference to religion.
“There was at least one victim asked if they were Muslim,” Anderson said.
“We are currently investigating this as potential act of terrorism,” Richard Thornton with the FBI said.
The assault continued through the mall, eventually ending in the Macy’s after an encounter with off-duty Avon police officer, who ultimately shot and killed the man.
“You saw him lunge at the police officer, the officer fired a round, few round. You see him fall and then you see him get back up. Again fired upon you see him fall, you see him get up three times,” St. Cloud Mayor David Kleis said.
Five minutes after it started, the attack was over but for law enforcement both on the local and federal level, the investigation was just beginning.
“This is a fluid situation and will continue to evolve,” Thornton said.